privacy

Can I say no to Customs if they want to read my phone?

US Customs and Border Protection

Episode 1451

John from Westchester, NY

John is worried about traveling overseas and then having his mobile device or computer taken away and being forced to unlock it. Leo says it doesn't really happen all that often, though they do have the right to do it, and it hasn't been ruled on being unconstitutional just yet. He'll have to worry when they take his device into another room. Chances are, they've cloned the data or even installed something to monitor him. At that point, if he's security conscious, the only thing he can really do is replace the device to be sure he's secure.

Why can't I log into Facebook?

Facebook Logo

Episode 1437

Kurt from Oshkosh, WI

Kurt just joined Facebook. Leo says it's a love hate relationship. You can reconnect with friends and family, but it's an annoying time suck. But Kurt is getting pushed by Facebook to post an image on his profile. Leo says that Facebook is doing that because they are trying to stop fake accounts. So he uploaded one and now he can't log in! Leo says that Facebook takes the time to verify users before they can re-login. It could take up to 72 hours.

Should I turn off my phone's background refresh and location services to save battery life?

iOS Privacy Settings

Episode 1437

Mike from Maine

Mike just upgraded to iOS 11.1 and he's wondering if turning off Background App Refresh and Location Services will save battery life. Does it make a difference? Leo says that he would do that for privacy issues rather than battery life. It's a good idea to change it to use his location only when the app is working. Apple would let him decide both by app. Leo does recommend leaving it on for his maps app, though. Apple does a very good job of managing battery life, and in most cases, turning off all those services is a finesse he doesn't need to really hassle with.

Can I make my Facebook posts private?

Facebook Thumbs Down

Episode 1413

Susan from Torrance, CA

Susan is worried that her boss at work can see her Facebook posts so she's changed her settings to friends only. Is that safe enough? Leo says that will work, however, Facebook does make mistakes and they do from time to time reset privacy settings without warning. Even Mark Zuckerberg's personal posts were outed by a glitch a few months back. So it's best to always consider a post she makes on social media to be out in the open.

How can I be private on the internet?

Google Search Page on a MacBook Pro

Episode 1408

Sherry from Canyon Lake, CA

Sherry is concerned because her personal information from public records show up in Google search results. Leo says that if it's public information, the only thing she can do is go to each site and demand they make her information private. But these days, it's easy to harvest that information from government sources online. And new sites pop up all the time. Privacy is really an illusion now. That's why celebrities usually create holding companies and make all their asset purchase through them, so that the paper trail is minimal.

What should I do about my data if I'm selling my computer?

HDD

Episode 1376

Jeff from Valley Village, CA

Jeff wants to do some spring cleaning by getting rid of some old computers, but is concerned about privacy and the data on the hard drives. Leo says that the easiest thing to do is to simply remove the hard drives. He could also use something like Darik's Boot and Nuke (DBAN) to completely wipe the drive. It erases everything by writing zeros across the drive, and then erases it again. If he does that several times, he'll be safe from everyone save the NSA. Solid State Drives, however, can be easier to get data off of.

Senate Votes to Overturn FCC Regulation Designed to Protect Privacy

Senate Building

Episode 1375

The Senate has voted to overturn an FCC regulation that was designed to protect customer privacy. The regulation that was put out in October of last year said that internet service providers would have to ask for customer permission before selling personal data, such as browsing history, current location, and more.

Read more at WashingtonPost.com

Turkish Crime Family Claims It Has Hacked Apple's iCloud

Apple iCloud

Episode 1374

The Turkish Crime Family is threatening to release hundreds of millions of iCloud account names and passwords if Apple doesn't pay them a ransom of millions of dollars. To prove it, they gave ZDNet 54 samples to confirm it. Apple, however, says they have never been hacked. But Leo says it's important for iCloud users to change their passwords just in case. While you're at it, if you haven't turned on two factor authentication, it would be a good idea to do that as well.

What is RFID and is it safe?

RFID chip

Episode 1367

Joe from Anaheim, CA

Joe wants to know what RFID is and how it works. Leo says it works by electromagnetic energy which powers it. It picks up the energy and then broadcasts a signal with an identifier number. Its range is not very far.

How can he protect himself from people grabbing his information via RFID? Leo says that there are wallets which have metal fiber in them that prevents the energy from passing to his chip and broadcasting it.